Taking Root

We are beginning to put down our roots in our new neighborhood, and we aren’t the only ones- we have plants!. The home we bought came with an exceptionally deep lot, including a pretty big garden and various flowers around the perimeter.

I love the space and can’t wait for next spring. The plan is to install some raised garden beds, trim back some large branches to let in more light and plant new grass. The previous owners had some veggies coming in shortly after we moved in. Now, after some rain and growth, (and some weeding on my part) we are starting to recognize some delicious-looking foods back there. Like…

Tomatoes! Haha, you can’t tell from the picture, but the entire tomato bush took out the metal fence that was supporting it. It’s just sprawled out all over the dirt.

Pumpkins! Halloween is going to be fun!

Yellow peppers – I think…!

Cucumbers! And some pretty flowers popping up all over:


What kinds of plants do you guys grow? If you don’t have the space, what do you dream about planting in a yard?

Until next time!



Knock on Wood…

…because we now have about 800 square feet of it sanded, cleaned, and polyurethaned. And it only took a month! Phew, don’t ask us to that again anytime soon!

It started off as a dark, spotty, orange-colored floor and we FINALLY have the much lighter result. There are wood floors in the living room, hallway and both bedrooms. Here’s a before (in the living room):

And an after!

Keep in mind, this photo is very much “in progress”. The layout is not even close to how we want it, we’ve just been tossing furniture and computers wherever for the time being. We also have to install new trim, finish spray-painting the windows white, get some new vent covers, buy a new ceiling fan and find some art to hang up on those naked walls. And that’s just the beginning of our growing list. Onto the story of the floors.

On July 23, we closed on this home sweet home and the very first thing we did (after laughing like crazy people repeating “We bought a house! We actually did it!”) was roll up to the house with our new keys, a toolbox and some snacks. After snapping some photos, we grabbed a few crowbars started tearing that trim off the wall, often taking plaster with it. Oops.¬†Disappointment #1.

The old trim was not up to the task of being pried off the wall either. It cracked and snapped in far too many areas to be reused. We ended up hammering down the exposed nails and storing it in the garage to be safely disposed of at another time. Disappointment #2. We still had our happy faces on though. There is very little that can kill the buzz of buying your first home! Finishing up the trim took about 2 days. And then we cleaned.

Once that was finished and out of the way, we figured we would go ahead and rent a drum sander to (hopefully!) pull up that ugly color on the floors. So, we Kevin hauled it into our car and we got it home and plugged it in. The noise it made was something like this: GGGGZZZZZZZZZZZCCCCCCHHHHH-bang! We had it running for all of 4 seconds, and it broke. I caught an amazing picture of Kevin giving it the first try while a piece of sandpaper flew off the drum and hit the wall.

Disappointment #3. We gave it a few more tries and then gave up. The local hardware store that we rented it from looked it over and told us the sad news that a rather important piece inside the machine was bent. They offered us a different machine, but unfortunately we had wasted too much of the day to get anything else done (which was a real bummer because we had both requested off work to get everything complete that day). After I had a mini-meltdown, the store gave us a full refund, but the ordeal halted our project for about a week until we had another full day to work on it. Disappointment #4.

Once things started back up again, we jumped back into action and got a new sander. It went much more smoothly. We spent the weekend finishing up EVERY SINGLE PLANK of wood in the house. Because of the age of the wood (and quality of installation all those years ago) there were quite a few spots that need to be sanded by hand or with a belt sander. Oh, if you ever do this yourself, definitely where a mask and turn off your air system. You will have wood dust everywhere, and I mean everywhere. But just LOOK at that beautiful blonde result. Simply stunning… I don’t know why you would ever stain over it!

We finished touching up the problem areas that weekend and started working on our “Oops” moment. The plaster! We bought a few buckets of drywall compound (which is the consistency of sticky, wet sand) and used a trowel to patch over where the old trim had been.

After it had sufficient dry time, we hand-sanded it down the level of the walls. Then we vacuumed (we sure got some use out of that new Shop Vac!). After this point, my camera got lost in the shuffle of moving and I missed the opportunity to capture us putting down 4 coats of water-based polyurethane (a protective finish). We elected to NOT use stain on the floors because we were so in love with the natural color, and we are so happy we went with our instincts. It’s perfect!

Okay, time to sign off for the evening. I’ll be back with more fun projects soon!